A Brief History of the West Family

The West family has been a key part of the Flash supporting cast since the 1950s (and in fact one West was the main character of the series from 1987-2006), but they’ve changed a lot in that time.

1950s

Reporter Iris West is introduced, dating Barry Allen. Little is said about her family.

1960s

Wally West, Iris’ nephew, first shows up visiting his aunt in Central City. He meets Barry Allen (as the Flash), is struck by lightning and chemicals in a freak repeat of the original accident, and becomes Kid Flash. Wally’s parents appear in his solo stories when he goes home to Blue Valley.

Strangely, I can’t find any instance of Iris and her brother interacting on-page anywhere. Not even in the later Wally stories of the 1990s or 2000s.

Iris’ father Ira West is a college professor, brilliant but absent-minded. We never see or hear about his wife until much later.

1970s

Iris is revealed to be adopted. Born to Eric and Fran Russell in the distant future, she was sent back in time to save her from a terrible war. A flashback shows Ira and Nadine West as they discover the time capsule.

1980s

With Wally West as the main Flash, his parents get more attention — and names: Rudolph and Mary West. Rudolph is revealed to be a sleeper agent for the Manhunters, and the illusion of an idyllic family life is shattered.

Wally’s aunt Charlotte and his uncle Edgar Rhodes are mentioned, but I’m not sure they ever show up, and it takes a while before anyone cements which side of the family they’re on.

1990s

“Born to Run” retcons Wally’s childhood into a dysfunctional one more in line with the way things turned out once his father’s true colors were revealed. Iris, rather than just being Wally’s aunt, is now the only member of his family who really understands him.

The future heroes the Tornado Twins, Don & Dawn Allen, are revealed to be Barry and Iris’ children. Don’s son Bart Allen travels back in time with his grandmother Iris to the present day.

2000s

Wally West and Linda Park marry and have twins, whom they name Iris West II and Jai.

2010s: New 52

DC restarts their entire line, establishing new versions of some characters and younger versions of others.

As with the Silver Age, we begin with Iris West. After a while we meet her younger brother Daniel, who becomes the Reverse-Flash and tries to use his power to go back in time and kill their abusive father William (who turns out to be worse than Rudy ever was in the pre-Flashpoint universe). Their mother isn’t named. All we know is that she died giving birth to Daniel.

Later we find out about her older brother Rudy, who skipped out on his wife and their son Wally some time ago. Wally’s mother disappears (presumed dead) when Central City is taken over by Grodd and the Crime Syndicate, and Iris, who barely knows him, takes him in as the only family he has left.

TV Show (2014 on)

Iris grew up with her father, police detective Joe West, and believed her mother died when she was young. When she was around 11 years old, her friend Barry Allen lost his parents, and Joe took him in.

Francine West hadn’t died, but ran away after checking into rehab. Unable to find her, Joe decided it would be kinder to tell his daughter that she had died rather than abandoned her.

Years later, Francine reached out to the family she left behind in Central City…and Iris learned about her long-lost brother. At the end of the fall finale, we left off with the first meeting of Wally West and his sister Iris and father Joe.

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